Saturday, May 09, 2015

Just tryin' to stay awake

Another bored at work post.  To add insult to injury, I have to work tomorrow from 12 to 8 too and had to turn down my sons offer for Mother’s Day Dinner.  *sigh*

 I know I’ve said this before, but it’s been a while since that last time and who knows – maybe I have new or different visitors since the last time.  When I first started blogging, the thought of getting free books from authors/publishers was kind of exciting.  And I accepted a few, but for whatever reason, I think there was only one I carried through and read.  That book, Broken Wing by Judith James, haunted me and started another one of my dips into shameless promotion.  I was so taken, and remain so, with this book I wanted EVERYONE to read it and many people did.

But other than that I don’t know if I actually read any.  As soon as I started thinking I HAD to read a book, I lost all desire to read it and I began to feel that for me – and I emphasize for me and me only – I was taking them under false pretenses and I stopped.  And I must admit it was the best decision I’ve made with both my reading and blogging world.  Since then, when I go nutty for a book, it’s really ‘cause I’ve gone nutty, it’s not because I feel any sense of obligation to any author for gifting me with a freebie.

When I check out reviews at GoodReads or Amazon, I’m noticing more and more often the review states they received a free book in exchange for an honest opinion.  It’s such a small little phrase, but for me – and again just me – I’m ever so glad I don’t have to add that little line.  Since every book I read I pay for – unless it’s a freebie for everyone on either Amazon or through BookBub, I can write a brilliantly scathing review should I so choose.  I wouldn’t do that; I have an inherent admiration for all authors as it’s something I can’t do and even if I loathe the book, the next person may well love it.  So when I do write a not so positive review I like to add something positive and also note that for me it didn’t work.  For example I just read a one star review for a book I gave five stars to and scratched my head at why the reviewer didn’t see the brilliance I did – but that’s the way it is.  Tastes are different for all readers and we will never get a complete agreement on a book.

But still – I can say what I want without a nanosecond of guilt and I don’t want to give that up.  I was checking out author websites the other day and one author I love was looking for readers to help promote her books as kind of a ‘street’ team.  She was making it kind of a contest and the prizes were not too shabby.  I was oh, so tempted to add my name cause I liked the prizes and I love her books.  But then would come that overinflated sense of obligation.  What if I did win a prize and then hated a book she wrote.  I’d be too conflicted.  So I’ll promote her books, not to win a prize, but because I just love her books.

I get people sending me email asking to review a book or host an author’s book tour or something but I’m awful and never answer.  What I should do is add something to my sidebar about my reviewing policy – that I do it simply for the joy of reading and have a good enough disposable income that free books aren’t a draw for me.  Yep, that’s what I’ll do – once I figure out how to word it.


azteclady said...

You realize they will still contact you with those offers, right?

Unless, of course, you unsubscribe from whatever newsletters have put you in their sights.

I agree with you on many points, and I wish I could say I'm as strong as you, never taking ARCs.

However, I confess I've been weak enough, on more than one occasion, to accept ARCs, including very recently.

Most often it has been only for books I've been dying to read, and often books I've already pre-ordered or end up buying anyway, but that has been blind luck.

It really would suck if I had hated an ARC and still felt obligated to write a review, because (and perhaps I flatter myself here) I would not lie about my reaction to the book, and that would make me uncomfortable.

Kristie (J) said...

But!! AHA!! At least I won't feel guilty now if they still try and get me to review. Because if they paid any attention to the blog at all, then they would see my newly posted reviewing policy and if they still send me an email, then they didn't really pay attention - thus freeing me of any guiltiness.
And I can't say strongly enough that "this is the opinion of this particular blogger and not to be confused with this blogger holding the same standards to anyone else".
I'm very fortunate to be in the position where I can afford to buy any books I want. I may CHOOSE not to buy books that are more expensive or same price as mass market books, but I could.
In the long run *laughing* it's all about me not adding more guilt when I'm already such a magnet for it :-)

Anonymous said...

I refuse ARC's but on occasion, I'll see one I want to read but in the end I never post a review and hardly ever finish it. ARC's are supposed to be used to generate buzz about a book. I'm not down with having to read and review anything on a time table. I read in moods. There is something freeing in not having to review ARC's. You can read at your leisure. You won't be judged on the content of your review (meaning saying as little or as much as you want about the book). I don't do well with analysis and I don't really care for those reviews. I just want to know if it's entertaining or not.

ARC's are a good way to generate traffic for blogs and increase readers and build up influence which is great if you have great taste in books and can point out the good books. These days, I'm reading a lot of older books (mysteries) and there are readers who enjoy that, too. Sorry to ramble and Happy Mother's Day to you (sorry you have to work! but I hope the hours at work goes by fast!)


Wendy said...

I get around the "honest review" statement thanks to the magic of tags. Any review I do on my blog for an ARC includes "ARC Review" in with the tags.

I've been getting ARCs since my TRR days (so, 1999 - yikes!) so don't really treat them as "special" in anyway. The one shift I've tried to adopt however is to allow myself to DNF ARCs more. Again, another hold over from my TRR days where I read every single sentence of every book no matter how awesome or terrible said book was. Once I stopped that "heavy-duty reviewing" I allowed myself to DNF, but.....I still found that hard to do with ARCs.

These days I would say I get the vast majority of my ARCs from services like NetGalley (which I actually prefer), the occasional publicist, and the occasional author. Most of the authors who contact me are Harlequin authors because....hello? Wendy = Harlequin Ho. I get the occasional self-published author request, but given the sheer volume of self-pub out there? Not too many actually.

And AL is right - they'll still contact you, but I still think it's good to state your policy somewhere on the blog. If they still e-mail you? That's on them, not you.

nath said...

Hi Kristie :)

Nice post. It's nice not to have to worry about that. The fact that you've received a free copy from the author or publisher. but yeah, to be able to read a book early... That's always exciting :)

I don't really do ARC anymore. I barely go on Netgalley either because I doN't like the format LOL. Yep, I'm picky :P

But personally, I've always tried to be as honest as possible... because at the end of the day, that's what we want. If authors and publishers decided they didn't want to send me any ARC, fine with me.

However, gotta say, it's nice to get request. It's like recognition :P

Kristie (J) said...

Keishon, I totally get the attraction of ARC's , I really do. They do help the author a lot. But like you said- and me in a. Different way, it is so freeing not being obligated to read a certain book. Plus this way, again as you say, the reader is free to say whatever they want.
Say I'm in a terrible reading slump & not in the mood to read anything. There's no pressure to have to force myself due to an author or publisher or agent waiting for my review.

Wendy, I can't imagine anything worse than HAVING to finish a book when it's so not working. It would just drain all the joy out of reading. And if I did accept ARCs, that's what would happen. One year I accepted books to judge and it was a horrid experience- for me. I think I got 3 books and all three were horrid and I couldn't finish a one. I ended up lying feeling a lightning bolt was goona get me.

Nath, LOL for the first while, it was thrilling to be asked and I accepted. But then either I didn't like the book, couldn't get into it or just wasn't in the mood and I felt like I'd let down whoever it was who sent it to me as well as myself. That was almost self induced slump right there. How could I move on when I still had the particular book to read? For me, and I only speak for me, it wasn't worth losing the joy and enthusiasm.